Chas W. Freeman, Jr.
Ambassador Charles “Chas” W. Freeman, Jr. is a retired career Foreign Service officer and former Assistant Secretary of Defense and is one of the nation’s leading authorities on U.S.-China relations as well as developments in the Middle East, by virtue of his many years of in-depth experience as a practitioner in the U.S. government and considerable intellectual and analytical contributions.
In 1995, Ambassador Freeman ended a distinguished and remarkably varied career in the United States Foreign Service, which included extensive dealings with China and East Asia. He was the principal American interpreter during President Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972. In the early 1980s, he served as the Director of Chinese Affairs at the State Department (1979-1981) and thereafter as as Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires in the American embassies at both Beijing (1981-1984) and Bangkok (1984-1986).
Ambassador Freeman was also Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs from 1993-94, earning the highest public service awards of the Department of Defense for his roles in designing a NATO-centered post-Cold War European security system and in reestablishing defense and military relations with China. He served as U. S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during the historic U.S. mediation of Namibian independence from South Africa and Cuban troop withdrawal from Angola. In addition to his Middle Eastern, African, East Asian and European diplomatic experience, he served in India.
He is the author of numerous articles and commentaries on developments regarding China, East Asia, and the Middle East, as well as two books, The Diplomat’s Dictionary (Revised Edition) and Arts of Power.
A well-known polygot, Ambassador Freeman has acquired formal ratings in Chinese, French and Spanish and a working knowledge of Portuguese and Italian. He speaks some Thai and Arabic as well. His formal educational awards includes a certificate in Latin American studies from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, certificates in both the national and Taiwan dialects of Chinese from the former Foreign Service Institute field school in Taiwan, a BA from Yale University and a JD from the Harvard Law School.
He currently serves as Co-Chair of the United States-China Policy Council, President of the Middle East Policy Council, Chairman of Projects International, Inc., Vice Chair of the Atlantic Council of the United States. He is a member of the boards of the Institute for Defense Analyses, the regional security centers of the U.S. Department of Defense, and the Washington World Affairs Council.